So far, no Western country has supplied main battle tanks to Ukraine. This comes as little surprise to military expert Carlo Masala. He believes that the West wants to avoid an impending escalation of the war by holding back.

Military expert Carlo Masala sees no sign that the West is supplying Ukraine with the latest battle tanks and rocket launchers so that it can repel the Russian offensive in Donbass. Masala said on Tuesday in the stern podcast “Ukraine – the situation” that no NATO state had yet delivered western-made main battle tanks. The West has not yet handed over the long-range multiple rocket launchers that the Ukrainians have been urgently asking for. “Sometimes the Ukrainians don’t have the weapons to stop the Russian advance or even beat it back,” said the politics professor at the Bundeswehr University in Munich.

For Masala it is unclear whether there is an informal agreement within the alliance on the tank deliveries. A statement to this effect by German Defense Secretary Siemtje Möller was contradicted by several officials from other NATO countries – from the British Foreign Minister to the Czech Deputy Defense Minister to Baltic politicians. Whether there is such an appointment is therefore open. However, the deliveries could also fail because there is not enough equipment available or the complex logistics cannot be guaranteed.

In addition, Russia had clearly warned against the delivery of long-range weapon systems. “The language we hear from Moscow also makes it clear that it would be a new level of escalation if Russian territory was attacked,” said Masala. That was “a signal to the western capitals”. If the Ukrainians were to shell towns and villages in Russia – and not just army support facilities – “the war would take on a completely different dimension”.

“No common war aims in Ukraine”

Masala complained that the West had not agreed on common war goals. This is a “big strategic mistake”. “We see that the different interpretations of this conflict are increasing more and more,” he said. “There are different ideas about how this conflict can be ended or how far it can go.” The longer the fighting lasted, the more “those would get into the driver’s seat who warn that the war has to come to an end.”